Miele DuoFlex HX1 vacuum cleaner review

Miele is known for its corded vacuums – can it pull off the same trick with its cordless HX1 range?

May 15, 2024 - 09:50
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Miele DuoFlex HX1 vacuum cleaner review

Miele DuoFlex HX1 vacuum cleaner: two-minute review

The Miele DuoFlex HX1 is part of the European brand's HX1 range, pitched as the brand's most affordable cordless vacuum cleaner. The DuoFlex HX1 is available in five different iterations. They're the same core vacuum with the same main cleaner head, but in a range of colors and with varying tools and accessories included. That means you can choose the model that suits you, without having to shell out for extra tools that you don't really need.

Miele is a European brand that has a long history of designing practical vacuums that stand the test of time. It's still best known for its plug-in vacuums, but will no doubt be hoping the HX1 range will earn it spot on TechRadar's best cordless vacuum ranking.

On test it felt well-built, sturdy and robust, but heavy and cumbersome. It's designed to be as powerful as Miele's bagged vacuums, and I found the dirt collection was good on the higher power level. The HX1's ability to automatically detect different floor types and adjust its suction in response takes the fuss out of vacuuming around your home. I also appreciated the clever self-cleaning filter. 

Miele DuoFlex HX1 vacuum laid out on the floor, surrounded by attachments

(Image credit: Future)

However, these innovative features are let down by some issues with the basics. The small dirt bin, messy emptying process and the short battery life are frustrating and mean this vacuum cleaner is best suited to smaller homes and those with predominantly hard floors. 

For this review, I tested out the HX1 Cat & Dog version, the USP of which is a handheld 'Electro Compact' brush. I found this did a great job of removing hair from pet bedding and thoroughly cleaning upholstery. However, the small dust bin limits this vacuum's suitability for pet owners, especially if their four-legged friends shed a lot. Read on for my full Miele DuoFlex HX1 vacuum cleaner review.

Miele DuoFlex HX1 vacuum cleaner review: price & availability

  • UK: from £449, available now (launched summer 2024)
  • US: from $599, launching June 2024
  • Australia: price and launch date TBC

Each of the five models in the Miele DuoFlex HX1 range is priced slightly differently. It's the same base model for all versions, but the accessories included differ. Hop to my model comparison table to see exactly how they compare, but price-wise the UK range runs from £369 to £499, with the Cat & Dog model I reviewed is £449. There's plenty of scope to choose the model that's right for your home and lifestyle.

The Miele DuoFlex HX1 range launched in summer 2024 in the UK. At time of writing, that's the only territory it's available in, but it is due to launch in the US in June 2024, at $599 for the standard HX1 model. It will also be available in Australia, but we don't have pricing information yet.

  • Value for money score: 4 out of 5

Miele DuoFlex HX1 vacuum cleaner specs

Miele DuoFlex HX1 vacuum model options

Miele DuoFlex HX1 vacuum cleaner review: design

  • Sturdy build, tools supplied vary by model
  • ComfortClean system removes the need to wash filter
  • Dust cup is small at 0.3L

The various models in the range are available in different colors. The Miele DuoFlex HX1 Cat & Dog comes in obsidian black and space gray, which is just a fancy way of saying it's essentially a black and gray vacuum – arguably a bit dull. That being said, not everyone wants a bright and lurid vacuum. And while the look is understated, the vacuum itself has a sturdy quality. It feels well built, as do all the tools.

The 'MultiFloor electrobrush' is the HX1's standard cleaning head. Additionally, all models come with a dusting brush and crevice nozzle – both of which can be stored on the wand of the vacuum so they're always to hand when needed – and a large upholstery nozzle. 

Miele DuoFlex HX1 vacuum cleaner with tools attached

(Image credit: Future)

Beyond those tools, the extras depend on the model you go for. The special addition for the Cat & Dog version I had on test is a small 'Electro Compact brush', designed specifically for tackling pet hair on upholstery. 

Miele DuoFlex HX1 vacuum cleaner in use in reviewer's home

(Image credit: Future)

The vacuum switches on via a button on the front of the handle, so there's no uncomfortable trigger to worry about. A second button below it enables you to switch between the two power levels. 

The charging cable can be plugged directly into the vacuum, or, if you're installing the wall bracket it can be included in this setup so the vacuum automatically charges every time it's docked on the bracket. 

Miele DuoFlex HX1 vacuum cleaner in use in reviewer's home

(Image credit: Future)

While many vacuums now include washable lifetime filters, Miele has developed an even better solution with what it calls the ComfortClean self-cleaning function. By turning the ComfortClean cap, the fine dust filter is cleaned in place. Any dirt that's removed from the filter makes its way into the dust bin and gets emptied out with the rest of the debris into your trash.

The dust bin is emptied easily via a flap that releases the dirt into the trash. But the small 0.3 liter dirt capacity will definitely be off-putting for some households.

  • Design score: 4 out of 5

Miele DuoFlex HX1 vacuum cleaner review: performance

  • Dirt bin fills up frustratingly fast, and emptying it can be messy
  • Feels heavy and a bit cumbersome, but maneuvers well
  • Suction is good and auto power switching is effective

When reviewing the Miele DuoFlex HX1, a few things were obvious even from the first use. This vacuum feels weighty, and I'm not just talking about vacuuming overhead. It has a heaviness even when vacuuming floors, which I think is down to the balance and the position and/or the angle of the handle.

Furthermore, the handle felt pretty chunky in my small hands, verging on uncomfortable. But I'm a 5ft 3in woman, so I got my 6ft 2in husband to try it out. He found the handle size to be more appropriate to his hand size. Though he felt there was less space under the handle and his fingers were a bit squashed. He also commented on the appearance of the vacuum which he liked, but I'm less keen on.

Miele DuoFlex HX1 vacuum cleaner in use in reviewer's home

(Image credit: Future)

Maneuverability was good on all floors. The main floorhead automatically detects carpet and increases the suction in response. This auto switching function works effectively, and I found it really took the thinking out of maneuvering between floor types, though the down-side it that it drains the battery (more on that later).

Edge cleaning along baseboards is fine on the lower power setting, but much better on the higher setting. Even when I deliberately sprinkled debris along baseboards, it was thoroughly sucked up on the higher suction, which isn't always the case with cordless vacuums.

Miele DuoFlex HX1 vacuum cleaner sucking up oats near the skirting board of the reviewer's home

(Image credit: Future)

I've got both carpeted and wood stairs and the HX1 coped well with both. However, in general, even on hard floors, it was rare that I could vacuum a whole room on the lower suction. Generally, I felt the need to increase the power to the higher level to be certain of a thorough clean. And again, this impacts the amount of cleaning time you get before the battery dies.

Miele DuoFlex HX1 vacuum cleaner in use in reviewer's home

(Image credit: Future)

After just five minutes of vacuuming a bedroom carpet, that wasn't all that dirty, the small dust bin was full up. The loose carpet fibers quickly fill the small bin, and while it doesn't fill up this fast on hard floors. If you've got a very busy house with children and pets, the dirt bin is not likely to be big enough. Similarly for larger homes, the frequent need to empty the bin will become very tedious.

Further to that, emptying out the dirt wasn't always straightforward. While the catch releases the base of the dust bin, the dirt doesn't always fall out. Often hair gets tangled around the pre-filter and sometimes debris gets stuck behind it. The pre-filter then has to be pulled out by hand to fully release everything, so it can certainly be a messy task.

The ComfortClean system is great for unclogging the filter, but every three months the filter has to be removed and tapped on the side of the trash. Once again, this is very messy to do.

Miele DuoFlex HX1 filter

(Image credit: Future)

The noise level is pretty typical for a vacuum. When using the hand tools it's around 70dB, rising to 80dB on the higher suction level. With the multi-floor brush in place you can expect a noise level in the region of 75-80dB depending on the floor type and power level.

Miele DuoFlex HX1 tools

The main floor cleaner head is referred to as the MultiFloor ElectroBrush, but there are a range of supplementary tools, which I'll comment on more here. The tools you get will depend on which version of the HX1 you opt for. The smaller of these tools can be attached directly to the vacuum for use as a handheld vacuum, or they can be fitted to the end of the wand for a longer reach. However, as a handheld vacuum in the car the HX1 felt bulky.

Image 1 of 7

Dusting brush for Miele DuoFlex HX1 vacuum cleaner

Dusting brush (included with all models) (Image credit: Miele)
Image 2 of 7

Upholstery nozzle for Miele DuoFlex HX1 vacuum cleaner

Upholstery nozzle (all models) (Image credit: Miele)
Image 3 of 7

crevice nozzle for Miele DuoFlex HX1 vacuum cleaner

Crevice nozzle (all models) (Image credit: Miele)
Image 4 of 7

Electro Compact tool for Miele DuoFlex HX1 vacuum cleaner

Electro Compact tool (Cat & Dog / TotalCare versions) (Image credit: Miele)
Image 5 of 7

Universal brush tool for Miele DuoFlex HX1 vacuum cleaner

Universal brush (Extra / TotalCare versions) (Image credit: Miele)
Image 6 of 7

Flexible crevice nozzle XL tool for Miele DuoFlex HX1 vacuum cleaner

Flexible crevice nozzle XL (CarCare / TotalCare versions) (Image credit: Miele)
Image 7 of 7

Flexible suction hose tool for Miele DuoFlex HX1 vacuum cleaner

Flexible suction hose (CarCare / TotalCare versions) (Image credit: Miele)

The dusting brush (included with all models) was handy for dusting shelves, but depending on the angle and the height of the shelf, isn't always the most comfortable method of dusting. I also used it on some of my car dashboard, but it couldn't reach into tighter spots. 

The wide upholstery nozzle (all models) means you can cover large surfaces at speed. I quickly vacuumed two sofas, but did need to increase the power to the higher level to effectively remove all the dust clinging to a velvet sofa.

Vacumming a sofa using the crevice tool on Miele DuoFlex HX1 vacuum cleaner

(Image credit: Future)

The crevice nozzle (all models) is a good length and the rubber end is a nice touch that means it won't damage or scratch anything. I found it particularly helpful for getting into hard-to-reach spots in the car.

The Electro Compact handheld brush is only included in the Cat & Dog version I tested, and the TotalCare version. On test, I found it was good for thoroughly cleaning my carpeted stairs. I also used it on my car mats, but found it couldn't reach everywhere in the foot wells. It works well on upholstery too and is designed for vacuuming up pet hair.

The nozzles from the HX1 range that I didn't test were the universal brush (Extra and TotalCare models) for cleaning sensitive surfaces, and the flexible crevice nozzle XL and the flexible suction hose (both CarCare and TotalCare only) designed to help you reach further into awkward areas in the car and the house. 

  • Performance score: 4 out of 5

Miele DuoFlex HX1 vacuum cleaner review: battery life

  • Short run times
  • Vacuuming carpet drains battery
  • Only three lights to indicate battery level

Vacuuming carpeted floors on the higher power setting is the fastest way to drain the battery. The Duoflex HX1 managed 11 minutes of vacuuming carpets on high power before the battery needed a full recharge. However, the surprise came when vacuuming carpets on the lower power level. Despite being on a lower suction, the battery lasted for a pretty pathetic 13 and a half minutes. 

On hard floors I was able to vacuum continuously on the lower power level for 21 minutes before the HX1 ran out of juice. This is the longest run time you'll get on floors, which is only enough time to blitz round two to three rooms, depending on the size of your rooms and how thorough you're being.

Miele DuoFlex HX1 vacuum cleaner, shot of the upper side showing battery life indicator lights

(Image credit: Future)

You'll get a longer vacuuming time when using the non-motorized hand tools, such as the dusting brush and crevice nozzle. But it still only offers up to 55 minutes, which will be on the lower power level.

When switching between all the hand tools, including the mini motorized tool, as well as switching between the power levels, the battery lasted just long enough for me to fully vacuum a Volkswagen Golf. But the car wasn't super dirty and if it had needed a more thorough, detailed clean, I would have had to do it in stages.

During testing, the battery recharge took between three and three and a half hours, which is in line with Miele's specs (which state 210 minutes).

Should you buy the Miele DuoFlex HX1 vacuum cleaner?

Buy it if...

Don't buy it if...

How I tested the Miele DuoFlex HX1

  • I tried every tool supplied
  • I used it on multiple surfaces throughout my home, as well as in my car
  • I timed the battery life

I used the vacuum in my own home for around a week. During that time, I tried all the various tools on a variety of surfaces. I vacuumed area rugs, carpet and hard floors, as well as upholstery, stairs, and even hard surfaces like shelving.

In addition to simply vacuuming, I took notice of ease of use, maneuverability and comfort. I also tested its performance on very specific tasks, like picking up that hard-to-reach debris along baseboards and in the corners of the room.

I reviewed my first vacuums over 15 years ago at the Good Housekeeping Institute in London. Over the years I've reviewed well in excess of one hundred vacuums. It really doesn't take me long to assess a vacuum and pinpoint its good features, as well as the less desirable qualities that are worth knowing before you buy.

Read more about how we test

First reviewed May 2024

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